My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #445: I Really Like When That Happens

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-29-2011 01:20 PM 3652 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 444: On to Cutting! Part 445 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 446: Birds and People and Things and Stuff »

After a day of wondering and anticipation, we were fortunate to not be highly affected by the hurricane. We did get some rain, and it was quite windy throughout the night, but overall we did fine. We never lost power and this morning the sun is shining in a cloudless sky and even though it is a bit breezy, it finally cooled down to a comfortable level.

Yesterday was quite sticky and warm – something we are not well equip to deal with here in Nova Scotia. Few people have air conditioning, and the wind was strong so it was not really good to leave the windows open more than an inch or two. I found myself wishing that I lived further up north – maybe in the Yukon – and longing for autumn and winter. (Yes, I am that crazy!) I am one of those fools who doesn’t mind the winter. I don’t mind the snow and cold and look forward to those ‘jammy days’ where I stay inside all day and paint or draw while there is a nice roast or pie cooking in the over. Usually by the end of August I have had it with summer and am ready to move on. But I know if I am patient those days will come soon enough. Autumn is right around the corner.

I did make good use of yesterday and I am extremely proud of what I accomplished. As planned, I cut out all eight of my new bird ornaments and they went without a hitch. I really like when that happens. It isn’t always the case. Sometimes there are little glitches here and there that come up and need adjustment, but this time I must say that things went quite smoothly. It made me think that maybe I do know what I am doing some days after all.

The ornaments took about 20 minutes each to cut, although I didn’t really time them. In the background I chose an array of late 70’s music to keep me moving. It was a nice mix of The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton and some others from the era when I was in high school that set a nice lively background to work against. Since I play my music through my computer, it is easy to throw in a good mix of anything I am in the mood to hear. I played everything on random because I like the ‘surprise’ of hearing a good cut that I hadn’t heard in years, or even a not so familiar song that I barely remembered. It made for a pleasant work place.

When I finished cutting the eight ornaments, I still wanted to cut so I decided to shoot some videos for future classes. These birds were a fine example of a process called ‘veining’ in scroll sawing where you kind of draw with the blade. In essence, you are cutting lines for the sake of showing details and it is common to do so when making feathers on birds and so forth. It isn’t always the easiest part of scroll sawing however, as there are some definite tricks to getting it right and not breaking the pieces.

While I was cutting, I was thinking how I would teach this process and I thought the best way was to actually show people how to do it. There are many ways to do veining and different approaches depending on the situation at hand and overall these birds cover many of them. I picked an ornament with a variety of techniques and I decided to video myself making it from start to finish.

The first part of the video I showed how to prepare the wood. The second part was how to drill the entry holes. (Yes, there is a trick as to figuring out the best places to drill your holes.) The third part was cutting the inside cuts, which need to be cut first. The fourth part was the long outer edge cutting. And finally I wanted to film some suggestions on carefully removing the pattern from the piece, as at this point it was quite delicate.

Things went pretty well I must say. I think I am finally getting the hang of doing these videos. However, some time during the video of me cutting the inside cuts (about 8 minutes into it) the camera just shut off. Of course since I was cutting, I didn’t realize that this happened at all so I kept cutting. The next segment (cutting the long outside area) took probably about ten minutes also and unfortunately there was nothing on film for that part either. I was really kind of sad because I had just spent all that time merrily cutting away and talking to myself and explaining everything as I went along and when looking on the camera to check after I was done that segment was not there. It struck me as strange because the final one of me taking off the pattern was present so I don’t know if I just didn’t hit the button hard enough to start the camera. (That would be something I would do!) But the previous segment of the inside cuts abruptly ended in the middle of what I was doing so I don’t know if I ran out of memory in the camera or if something else I did triggered it to stop. I will have to look into it.

Since the video is for a lesson a little further down the line, I am not that worried about it. I will just try again and be sure to empty the camera before starting. Perhaps with the other segments still on the camera, I had the memory at its limits.

All in all it was a wonderful day’s work. These ornaments are really cool looking and although I still need to make frames for them so that they can hang, the overall designs are nice and I believe they will be popular.

Below is a picture of the bluebird:

What I intend to do is to make a wreath overlay around them so that they can be hung easier. They are quite delicate and I didn’t want to have a hanger or hook from the delicate pieces or drill a hole in their heads. I am thinking I will make a holly wreath overlay to go around them that will still look delicate but be strong enough to hang them by. I think it will add more to them and be the best way to hang them.

I spent the remainder of the day sanding them and getting them ready to be oiled. The picture above shows the ornament before any finish is applied. They are made of maple and I think a nice coat of oil will be great on them. Since I made two sets (I stack cut them) I may even tint one set using the DecoArt gel stain and adding in some color just to see how they would look. I think it would be nice to offer that option on the pattern and that there are people that would like it.

All in all it was a great day. I still have another eight of these little songbirds that I want to draw up, making two complete pattern packets. Even though they took a little longer to draw than I initially anticipated, in the end I feel like the time was well spent and very much worth it. I would far rather spend the time on this end of the process than hurry through the drawing and encounter problems when cutting. In the long run it is far quicker for me to take my time in the beginning and do it right the first time. Quality over quantity and all of that.

So its back to drawing today. It will be quite a pleasure knowing that with care I will have such a nice outcome. (Did I mention that I love my job?)

I wish you all a wonderful Monday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

12 comments so far

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3519 days

#1 posted 08-29-2011 01:24 PM

I am glad you are going to cover viening in your class, I am not very good at that part.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2797 days

#2 posted 08-29-2011 01:26 PM

purdy-birdy… and jam on to the ‘70s :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#3 posted 08-29-2011 01:34 PM

Yes, Katie – I think it is one of the most difficult parts of scrolling. I am still trying to organize in my mind the best way to show how to do things. I know I said that I am trying to do the class so that if one doesn’t have the ability to see the videos they will still be able to learn, but that is going to be kind of tough when it comes to veining. Drawing the diagrams that I have up there is one way, but I don’t know if it will adequately get the point across. I will probably just try one step at a time and see how it goes.

And Roger – It was a great jam session! No wonder I cut so well! LOL I really enjoy listening to music when I work. I just never get tired of it. It is funny though to think that most of the stuff I listened to is over 30 years old! YIKES! :D


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3108 days

#4 posted 08-29-2011 01:49 PM

don´t worry about how old the music is Sheila its still hot with the youngs today
even music from the fifthy´s they know and sing to ….. happy music stay young
they prefer music from before the tecno and hayvy metall age :-)

nice bird :-)

have great day yourself

View BertFlores58's profile


1695 posts in 2915 days

#5 posted 08-29-2011 03:46 PM

If I have not seen you nails, I would think it is big. The proportion of the bird to the leaves and flowers is perfect. Just saw cut lines enhance the details of the project. Really good.
Have a great Monday too.. I just finished my Monday with another Narra box… this time with a tray and divisions…. A 3×6x12 Narra box. I will post it tomorrow. Monday and Tuesday are holidays here,
God bless,

-- Bert

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2762 days

#6 posted 08-29-2011 04:03 PM

That’s a great Blue Jay, beautiful work! It does look extremely fragile. How thick this is that piece of maple?

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2609 days

#7 posted 08-29-2011 04:10 PM

Shelia , great job on the bird ! looking at the bird if you were to put a hang from the head part . I’m thinking it would not be balanced out . Bluebird are you refering to the blue jay or is this different .

Yes there is alot to do veining , from drill placement to actually cutting , then when you get into really detail patterns there is even more . looking forward to seeing the lesson

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#8 posted 08-29-2011 04:17 PM

Yes, it is little. That is why I held it for the picture (for reference). I wanted the ornaments to be no bigger than 3.5” wide. They are approximately 1/8” thick and made from solid maple. The wreaths around them would be probably about 4” (I haven’t drawn then yet!)

It is a bluebird. A jay will come later. And David – yes, there would be a balancing problem if you were to hang them directly by the heads. But if you use them as overlays and other applications, you won’t really have to worry about that. I like making patterns that are flexible and can be used in many ways. These will even look nice if you enlarge them a bit.

Thanks for all the nice feedback. I was happy that they worked as well as they did. It was one of those that I wasn’t sure when I looked at it on paper. It certainly isn’t a beginner project though, although it is a great learning one I think. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3011 days

#9 posted 08-29-2011 07:11 PM

I must say that is a great looking bird!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10091 posts in 4046 days

#10 posted 08-29-2011 07:46 PM

Nice Birdie!

A Cardinal is a cool looking bird too… I think…

Do you resaw your solid wood sheets & clean’em up?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3072 days

#11 posted 08-30-2011 12:22 AM

I’ve heard of veining but didn’t know what it was. Now i see what it is. I’ll have to try it. Thank you, Sheila. I always learn something interesting in every blog you post. Don’t stop!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#12 posted 08-30-2011 12:01 PM

Thank you Joe! I have a cardinal done in this first set. I will show them all in a bit. And yes, I resaw the larger pieces. First on the band saw and then run them through the planer. I have to be careful so they don’t twist though. I keep everything stacked and weighted and that seems to help a bit. I find that if I go too thin and too wide I get problems with warping. But these pieces are quite small so they are pretty good.

Thanks too, Little Paw! I am still figuring out how I will best show things in the lesson. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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